Palestine’s “It Must Be Heaven” and Hend Sabri Officially Win This Year’s Cannes Critics Awards

By Malak Khaled

The winners for the fourth Critics Awards for Arab Films have just been announced. The event was part of the Virtual Marché du Film, organized by the Arab Cinema Centre that’s taking place on the margins of the virtual 70th annual Cannes Film Festival.

The jury consisted of 141 members from 57 different countries. The first win went to the Palestinian film, “It Must Be Heaven”, earning two wins in total for Best Film and Best Director.

Last year, the film won the Jury Special Mention award at the Cannes Film Festival and was Palestine’s submission for the Academy Awards as well as a nominee for Palme d’Or, which is the highest prize awarded at Cannes.

The film is a satirical semi-autobiography which follows the director, Elia Suleiman, as he travels through different countries in search of a new home and ends up finding that what happens in his country, happens in every country he visits.


Another win went to Hend Sabri, who took home the award for Best Actress for her performance in “Noura’s Dream”. The film was also nominated for other awards, like Carthage Film Festival where Hend won Best Actress and the director, Hinde Boujemaa, won the Taint d’Or, and once again at the El Gouna Film Festival for Best Actress. 

In the Narrative-Drama, Hend Sabri plays a woman trying to find her happiness and freedom as her abusive husband sits in jail with a long-awaited divorce pending. When her husband is released early she feels that her dreams may slip away.

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